Author Topic: Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car  (Read 3589 times)

wilk916

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Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car
« on: April 20, 2012, 11:36:26 AM »
We've been a two car family for as long as we have been a family (myself, wife, 2 year old, and one on the way).  But over the last couple of years our lives have changed to the point where we really don't use two cars at the same time very much.  I work from home and my wife works 2 days per week at a location 4 miles away.  We only need child care two days per week and are lucky to have my parents providing this since they live close by.

I've been pitching the idea to my wife of selling our second vehicle ("her car") and using the equity (no loan and a KBB value of about $8000) to either pay off some student loans or invest in a rental unit.  She has always objected to the idea.  We don't know any couples (let alone any families) that only have one car, so the idea always felt like a bad one to her.

However, just a few days ago she hopped in her car to head to work and discovered that a spider had moved in and established a fairly extensive web.  She came home that night, had a good laugh about it, and says she is starting to think I am right.  This morning she even asked when we are going to sell her car.

So now I'm entering my usual big decision, over analytical, have-we-really-considered-everything stage.  I've run through the numbers and figure we will save anywhere from $750-$1000 per year over the next 5 years by selling the vehicle (including expected depreciation but not including any potential investment gains by using the money elsewhere).  My questions for the group are as follows:

Among those who have dropped your second vehicle, how often do you run into a situation where you regretted not having two cars?

Are there any specific situations that regularly pop up where you think, "damn, I wish we had another vehicle"?

Anyone out there drop the second car, change their mind, and end up with two cars again?

I'm interested in all opinions, but am hoping for some opinions from those families out there with 2+ young children.  Our biggest concern is that in 9 months we will have two growing kids, a new found desire for two vehicles, and will end up back in the car buying market (albeit with $1000 extra in our pocket).

Thanks in advance.

velocistar237

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Re: Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2012, 11:54:50 AM »
Among those who have dropped your second vehicle, how often do you run into a situation where you regretted not having two cars?

Are there any specific situations that regularly pop up where you think, "damn, I wish we had another vehicle"?

Anyone out there drop the second car, change their mind, and end up with two cars again?

I guess I'm an outlier, but we have two kids, ages 3 and 1, with a third on the way, and we just bought our first car yesterday. In our area, if we really needed a second vehicle, we could get a Zipcar (or borrow). There were times when a car would have made things easier, but it sure was a lot less hassle not to have one. Insurance, maintenance, inspections, parking, cleaning, oh my! My hope is that we'll get tired of it in a few years and go car-free again. Both church and work are about two miles away from home, and we've had little trouble walking (except for stroller tires wearing out at an alarming rate).

Ditch a car, and you'll find that your savings per inconvenient event makes it worth it.

TLV

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Re: Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2012, 11:58:01 AM »
My wife and I have only had 1 car since we got married (except for a brief overlap when we bought a newer car, before selling the old one), but we did have 2 cars between us before we got married. The only times when it's been inconvenient to have just 1 car have been when it was in the shop having work done - and it wasn't inconvenient enough to justify renting a car in the meantime. We have one child (age 7 months) and that hasn't changed things. However, I've always either walked, biked, or bussed to work, so my wife has had the car available at home. She wouldn't be comfortable not having a car to get the baby to the doctor quickly if it were needed.

twinge

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Re: Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 12:13:18 PM »
We are a family of 4 (2 young kids) who had one car for several years (after having no car for many years, but in a different town that had better public trans).  We recently received a gift of an extra used car and have barely used it (and are now wondering whether and how to sell/donate it without offending the gifters).  We both work and one kid is in school and the other in daycare and the second car still seems completely extraneous.  Both cars are small and fuel-efficient. If you work out your commuting situation so that one or both people don't need a car, I really think it becomes extra.

ferfischer

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Re: Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2012, 12:36:29 PM »
We actually have (almost) 4 kids - but with 3 kids even, we only have one car that can transport the whole family anyway.  It's not really the same situation, but that also means we only have one car that works for all of us, like you will be moving to one car that works for all of you.  Yes, sometimes it's inconvenient - sometimes we have to split up, but there's no way we're getting two cars that hold all of us and absolutely no reason to - instead we have a big car for the whole family and a small car we use for individual commuting and small trips (my husband still has to drive to work for the moment), and will eventually be able to transport 3 of the 4 kids at once, but we'll get by somehow.   All it means is that you have to plan your trips carefully, only do what's necessary, and sometimes split up or take an alternative transportation.  I happen to have a child in a wheelchair, so we really have limited options, but even we've worked it out so it works with only one car that can transport her.    With only two kids and one parent working at home, I say go for it.  If it doesn't work for some reason you can always troll up craigslist after saving for a bit - but my guess is that you'll find you won't miss it.

wilk916

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Re: Request for Feedback: Family of Four with One Car
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 08:57:57 AM »
Thanks for the feedback all.  I think we are going to go for it.  I'm definitely looking forward to the decreased amount of maintenance to keep up with.